Second half surge sends Salukis soaring over Bradley

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

PEORIA – Southern Illinois (12-11, 5-5 MVC) sunk Bradley (11-12, 3-7 MVC), 72-68, after a second half surge during today’s matchup at Carver Arena. 

After four straight losses, the Salukis came into the game winning two of three.

The Braves, opening conference play 0-5, had reeled off three out of four games, including their win over Southern in Carbondale.

Senior center Kavion Pippen put SIU on the board with a jumper off an assist by senior forward Armon Fletcher.

Pippen finished the game leading in scoring with 20 points to go along with six rebounds and two blocks.

Southern was able to stay in the lead for the next two minutes but the Bradley tied the game at 5-5 after a free throw.

SIU then pushed out a 13-9 lead off a jumper by senior forward Thik Bol and a free-throw by senior guard Sean Lloyd Jr.

The Braves were able to pull within one off a three-pointer, but a jumper by Pippen pushed the lead back out to three for the Salukis.

A three-pointer by junior guard Darrel Brown gave Bradley their first lead of the game at the nine minute mark at 17-15.

Lloyd made a free throw and junior guard Aaron Cook made a layup, reclaiming the lead for Southern with 8:35 left in the first half.

The lead by the Salukis was short-lived as two consecutive three-pointers by the Braves opened up a five point lead.

Two consecutive missed shots by SIU turned into another three-pointer by Bradley, pushing their lead to 26-18 with 4:05 left in the first half.

Fletcher ended the 9-0 run by the Braves with a layup to cut the lead to six.

Six more points by Bradley pushed the Braves’ lead to 10, with a jumper by Pippen being the only points for Southern in that run.

Two free throws by Pippen cut the Braves lead down to 32-24 with 1:39 left in the first half.

A jumper by sophomore forward Elijah Childs ended the scoring in the first half as the Salukis trailed 34-24 heading into the locker room.

Two jumpers by Pippen and a layup by Fletcher closed the gap to six for SIU starting the second half.

After scoring his career high on Wednesday, Fletcher finished the game today with 14 points.

Bradley made another three to push it back out to a nine-point-lead but a steal by Cook turned into a three-pointer by Lloyd to trim the Braves lead back down to 39-33.

Cook forced another steal which resulted in a foul by Bradley and two made free throws by Lloyd to keep the Bradley lead at six.

Coming out of a media timeout, the Braves turned the ball over and junior guard Eric McGill missed the three-pointer. Bradley scored on a jumper to extend their lead to 43-35 five minutes into the second half.

A free throw by Lloyd and a layup by Pippen brought the game within five for the Salukis.

A three-pointer and a jumper by junior guard Nate Kennel pushed the Braves’ lead out to ten, but Cook made a three-pointer of his own to make it 50-43 with 12:06 left in the second half.

Pippen made a layup and was fouled on his next shot attempt where he made both of his free throws, closing the Braves’ lead to 50-47.

Lloyd forced a steal which ended in a layup to close the gap to one but Bradley answered with a layup and one made free throw to push it to 55-51.

McGill made a layup and Lloyd added a jumper to tie the game at 55-55 for the first time since the first half.

Bradley called a timeout and scored on a layup but a tip-in by McGill off his own missed shot tied the game back up at 57-57.

The Braves made another layup but a three-pointer by Cook gave SIU a brief one point lead, which was answered by a three-pointer by Brown to reclaim the lead with six minutes left.

Lloyd made one of two free throws and Cook added two more free throws, and a jumper by Fletcher knotted the game back at 65-65 with 4:19 left in the game.

McGill made a jumper, which was followed by a layup by the Braves, but a jumper by Lloyd gave Southern a two point lead with 2:42 left in the game.

A foul by Fletcher put Bradley to the line where they made one of two free throws as they trailed SIU 69-68.

Southern had two chances to push the lead out further but Lloyd and Fletcher both missed their three-pointers as they still led by one with 47 seconds remaining.

Bradley fouled Lloyd with 16 seconds left and Lloyd made the first of his two free throws.

Cook grabbed a rebound off a Braves missed layup and was fouled. He made two free throws for the last score of the game as the Dawgs escaped Peoria with a 72-68 win.

SIU will look to push their win streak to three as they travel to Missouri State on Wednesday with tip off set for 6:00 P.M.

Sports editor Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam

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